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English Language

This course has relevant, engaging and up-to-date content that reflects contemporary language study. With exciting text and data-based sources of language, the specification introduces the study of English in its various forms and contexts, with the learning of methods for analysing language underpinning all elements of the course.

Subject content

English Language at A Level is very different from your studies at GCSE. Studying English at an advanced level introduces you to the world of linguistics (the science of language). This doesn’t mean test tubes and chemicals, but instead looks at how and why language makes us human.

One component of the course involves the study of language in relation to the individual and society. This includes analysing and comparing a wide variety of texts, and studying children’s spoken and written language development from 0-11 years. Another component focuses on wider themes of language diversity and change, with essay-writing about these topics and analysis of texts presenting ideas, attitudes and opinions about them.

There are also opportunities to produce your own writing about language topics and ideas. In addition there is a more individual element where you will produce your own data-based language investigation, based on independent research, and a piece of original writing with a commentary.

AQA English Language course specifications

Specific entry requirements

GCSE Grade 5 or above in English Language.


This subject will be assessed by external examination and coursework (the language investigation).

Progression opportunities

An A Level in English Language is valued by both Higher Education establishments and employers, since it shows a high level of communication skills and the ability to think analytically. Popular career choices include teacher (primary/secondary/Further Education or teacher of English as a Foreign Language), speech therapist, lawyer, librarian, journalist or roles in media and communications.

Meet the A Level expert

Caroline Farrar

Caroline has a BA (Hons) and Master’s degree, and has been teaching English Language and English Literature since 2000. She has also been an examiner for both subjects.

Caroline said: “English Language involves the study of language in use in society and the way it functions and changes. English Language helps develop the skills of analysis, research and a fluent academic writing style. These transferable skills are invaluable for careers in journalism, media, law, teaching, civil service and any occupation where clear written and spoken communication is paramount.”

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